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KOPITIAM

BEST NEW BISTRO

KOPITIAM

SHORLISTED BY BISTRONAUT #2

WHO
An unassuming little Chinese-Malaysian café counter found itself in the right neighborhood at the right time. In 2015, as the Two Bridges area in Chinatown was getting hipper, Kopitiam (“coffee shop in Hokkien”)’s limited menu of snacks and coffee caught the attention of the new locals.
Kopitiam’s new location is a collaboration between Penang-born chef-owner Kyo Pang and a new partner, restauranteur Monlynn Tsai. It is more spacious although still very casual, now featuring 35 seats, a welcoming communal table and a big window on the bustling East Broadway. The menu is proportionally more extensive and still celebrating Pang’s family recipes, reflective of the Nyonya repertoire which combines Chinese and Malaysian cuisines as well as British, Dutch and Portuguese influences.

FOOD
Chef Pang is serious about honoring her ancestors’ traditions. She sources her products from local markets as well as from Malaysia and insists that nothing artificial is added to the food. Every plate is under $13; and considering the amount of little “snacks, sharing is fun at Kopitiam.
The pandan chicken ($6.5), comes into three precious triangles of minced chicken wrapped with fragrant pandan leaves (please unwrap before eating! Says the menu!)”. Similar looking is the Otak Otak ($4), a tasty grilled fish “quiche” wrapped in banana leaves.
For mains, the much instagrammed speciality is the Nasi Lemak ($9), presented as the “national dish of Malaysia”. The bowl features a blue flower-tinted coconut rice surrounded with a fried anchovy and peanut sambal paste, crunchy cucumbers, hard boiled egg and tons of fresh herbs. It’s beautiful and fragrant.
Our preference however went to the simple and satisfying chilled spicy rice noodles ($8), soaked into a homemade spicy sesame sauce. If you miss protein, the one main option is the Hainanese Chicken Rice ($13), another classic dish made of poached chicken topped with herbs and accompanied by rice balls cooked in the chicken broth, along with dipping sauces: ginger scallion, chicken fat soy sauce, chili sauce.
Finally don’t miss the sweets, there is a multitude of options and they’re all a discovery. If you have room for more rice, don’t seep on the Pulut Tai Tai ($4), a sticky rice topped with Kaya jam, a marmalade made out of coconut milk, eggs, sugar and a hint of pandan leaves. For something different, we particularly loved the delicate milky rose lychee mochi ($6.5), a generous portion that comes powdered with rose petals.

DECOR
A hosh-posh mix of vintage items and of folklore brought directly from Malaysia. The space is literally meant to fill like a kopitiam, a local coffee shop you go to every day, almost like a second home.

NOISE
Very quiet!

SEATING
Seat near the window at the counter or around the communal table.

VIBE
Definitely casual. Orders are made at the counter, they call you when your number is ready, and you grab your own dishware and clean up your table yourself. There’s nothing particularly vibey or romantic about this place, but the simplicity and authenticity of the offering does it all.

SERVICE
Not really any service, although the person taking our orders at the register was patient and happy to advise us about all these exotic foods we had never tried before.

WOULD RECOMMEND
Not an idea date spot but an easy and affordable option for a friends catch up, a family outing or even solo dining.  

WHO
An unassuming little Chinese-Malaysian café counter found itself in the right neighborhood at the right time. In 2015, as the Two Bridges area in Chinatown was getting hipper, Kopitiam (“coffee shop in Hokkien”)’s limited menu of snacks and coffee caught the attention of the new locals.
Kopitiam’s new location is a collaboration between Penang-born chef-owner Kyo Pang and a new partner, restauranteur Monlynn Tsai. It is more spacious although still very casual, now featuring 35 seats, a welcoming communal table and a big window on the bustling East Broadway. The menu is proportionally more extensive and still celebrating Pang’s family recipes, reflective of the Nyonya repertoire which combines Chinese and Malaysian cuisines as well as British, Dutch and Portuguese influences.

FOOD
Chef Pang is serious about honoring her ancestors’ traditions. She sources her products from local markets as well as from Malaysia and insists that nothing artificial is added to the food. Every plate is under $13; and considering the amount of little “snacks, sharing is fun at Kopitiam.
The pandan chicken ($6.5), comes into three precious triangles of minced chicken wrapped with fragrant pandan leaves (please unwrap before eating! Says the menu!)”. Similar looking is the Otak Otak ($4), a tasty grilled fish “quiche” wrapped in banana leaves.
For mains, the much instagrammed speciality is the Nasi Lemak ($9), presented as the “national dish of Malaysia”. The bowl features a blue flower-tinted coconut rice surrounded with a fried anchovy and peanut sambal paste, crunchy cucumbers, hard boiled egg and tons of fresh herbs. It’s beautiful and fragrant.
Our preference however went to the simple and satisfying chilled spicy rice noodles ($8), soaked into a homemade spicy sesame sauce. If you miss protein, the one main option is the Hainanese Chicken Rice ($13), another classic dish made of poached chicken topped with herbs and accompanied by rice balls cooked in the chicken broth, along with dipping sauces: ginger scallion, chicken fat soy sauce, chili sauce.
Finally don’t miss the sweets, there is a multitude of options and they’re all a discovery. If you have room for more rice, don’t seep on the Pulut Tai Tai ($4), a sticky rice topped with Kaya jam, a marmalade made out of coconut milk, eggs, sugar and a hint of pandan leaves. For something different, we particularly loved the delicate milky rose lychee mochi ($6.5), a generous portion that comes powdered with rose petals.

DECOR
A hosh-posh mix of vintage items and of folklore brought directly from Malaysia. The space is literally meant to fill like a kopitiam, a local coffee shop you go to every day, almost like a second home.

NOISE
Very quiet!

SEATING
Seat near the window at the counter or around the communal table.

VIBE
Definitely casual. Orders are made at the counter, they call you when your number is ready, and you grab your own dishware and clean up your table yourself. There’s nothing particularly vibey or romantic about this place, but the simplicity and authenticity of the offering does it all.

SERVICE
Not really any service, although the person taking our orders at the register was patient and happy to advise us about all these exotic foods we had never tried before.

WOULD RECOMMEND
Not an idea date spot but an easy and affordable option for a friends catch up, a family outing or even solo dining.  

CHEF

Kyo Pang

OPENING DAYS

9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Wednesdays & Holidays.

RESERVATIONS

No reservations needed.

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